News / Africa

Nigeria's Former Military Ruler Running for President

Former Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida (file photo)
Former Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida (file photo)

A former military ruler in Nigeria is running for president in elections scheduled for next year.  The candidacy has revived allegations of corruption during his time in power.

Retired general Ibrahim Babangida says he is running for president because he left so many things behind when he left Abuja, including the value of Nigeria's currency, stable fuel prices, and government reform.

He told reporters this week that he wants to return to the capital to pick up those things for the benefit of ordinary Nigerians.

Babangida is among half a dozen candidates vying for the ruling-party's nomination, but no one has a resume quite like his.  A veteran of three successful military coups, Babangida ran Nigeria for eight years, dragging-out a transition to civilian rule by banning all political parties and forcing candidates to run in one of two parties he created.

Political analyst Ignatius Onwuemele recalls when a vote was finally held in 1993, Babangida annulled the results.  

"The election that was the freest and the fairest so far in Nigerian history was annulled without offering any reason," he said.  "And of course such a man who spearheaded such an annulment is not a democratic individual, as far as I am concerned."

Onwuemele wonders how a man who ruled by decree can work with a multi-party legislature. "As a military ruler, I know that it is not like democracy where issues are tested and tried.  He can wake up and take decisions and all that," he said.

Babangida says he takes full responsibility for annulling the June 12, 1993 vote and admits it was a mistake.

Former ruling-party member Edward Oforomeh says Babangida is not the only one to blame. "That June 12th issue is not a personal issue.  Although he was the leader of that regime, he could not have done it alone.  Babangida could not have done the annulment alone," he said.

As a Nigerian citizen, he says Babangida has every right to run for president. "He did the best he could when he was [in power] and now that he says he is coming back it is left for the populace to decide on whether to vote for him or not," he said.

During his time in power, Babangida created many new local government areas and several new states as part of what he said was a plan to decentralize power.

"Everybody sees today development there as a result of those local governments and states," he said.

Nigeria made huge oil profits with the spike in world prices during the first Gulf War and much of that money collected by the Babangida administration remains unaccounted for.  Babangida says he knows that will be an issue in this election, and he is assuring voters that all those funds were properly used to meet government demands at the time.

Warri-based attorney James Jakpor says corruption is a problem for all Nigerians. "The blame of the corruption, the blame of the Naira can not be placed only on Babangida.  He contributed his quota, no doubt.  But the problem is for the whole of Nigeria," he said.

Political analysts say the former general no longer enjoys such a huge financial advantage over potential rivals.  An officer class once dominated by his Middle Belt region is now more geographically and ethnically diverse.  

There is also the question of age. Babangida is 68.  In a vote to choose a successor to a president who could not complete his term because of a heart condition, many Nigerian voters are looking for a younger, more dynamic candidate.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More